My dog Shelby (mini doxie) who is now 10 years old has continuous impacted anal glands. I have tried giving additional fiber, etc. to no avail. Do you have any suggestions?
Impacted anal glands are a common canine health issue. Dogs with impacted anal glands often scoot or drag their rear end across the floor to relieve their discomfort. Your pet may also lick the anal area excessively. Discharge from the anal gland also has a very repulsive odor. If the impacted glands are not treated, it may cause serious bacterial infections or an abscess.
Toy breeds and obese dogs are more commonly affected by this problem. If your dog has soft stool, he or she may not receive enough pressure to the glands to allow them to empty fully. Repeated problems with impacted anal glands may be diet related. One study shows that 70% of dogs with this problem have a diet of canned food.
Many vets recommend pets with recurring anal gland impactions be placed on a high-fiber diet to firm the stool. The hope is that firmer stool will cause the glands to naturally express. Even with a high fiber diet, some dogs are more prone to anal gland impaction than others.
Sassy recommends you try several options:
If you are feeding your dog canned food, talk to your vet about switching to a high fiber formula dry food. Senior formula’s often have higher fiber. Adding carrots, green beans, canned pumpkin, oat bran or a fiber supplement to the diet may also be recommended.
Regular exercise helps in the expression of the glands. Your pet should get at least 15 minutes of exercise twice daily.
If your dog is overweight, discuss your dog’s weight and appropriate exercise and weight loss plan with your vet.
Watch for signs of anal gland impaction and visit your vet or pet professional to show you how to express the glands to relieve the dog’s discomfort and to prevent infection. Some dogs may require anal gland expression, or emptying, every two or three weeks.
If you have already done all of these things, talk to your vet about anal gland removal.
Dogs that suffer from repeated anal abscesses may have scarring to the anal area which could result in incontinence. To avoid such a problem from occurring many veterinarians advise the complete removal of the anal glands through a quick surgical procedure.
Sassy hopes Shelby feels better soon. Write back if you find a solution.
Sassy gives advice to dogs and their people, with the help of her person, Martha Caster Lloyd. Martha owns a Pet Sitting and Cage Free Grooming Service in Sachse (loveyourpetsitting.com).
Email questions to Sassy at email@example.com.
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